The Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has underscored the need for a “careful balance” in assessing the anti-LGBTQ Bill.
In comments that shied away from taking a stance on the Bill, Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said “we are a democratic country and Parliament should ensure that the rights of citizens are protected.”
While he said democracy is about majority rule, he added that “it doesn’t also mean we should trample on the rights of others.”
“The appropriate thing will be done,” Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu remarked further on Parliament’s consideration of the Bill.
The Majority Leader also assured that Parliament would not be pressured by international relations to go against Ghana’s interests.
He cited Article 40 (a) of Ghana’s constitution as “the driving principle that should underpin our international relations.”
“In its dealings with other nations, the government shall promote and protect the interests of Ghana,” Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu quoted from the constitution.
Parliament is currently receiving memoranda on the anti-LGBTQ+ Bill ahead of its resumption later in October.
Ghana’s two main religious groupings, Christians and Muslims, have been vocal in their support of the Bill and presented memos backing the legislation that has been described as homophobic by critics.
Fifteen renowned legal, academic, and civil society professionals filled also filed a memo describing the Bill as inimical to Ghana’s democratic principles.
The Bill prescribes that people of the same sex who engage in sexual activity could spend up to 10 years in jail.
Varying forms of support for the LGBTQ+ community would also be criminalised if the Bill, known as the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021, is passed into law.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu’s fellow leader in the Majority, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, said the anti-LGBTQ Bill needed some changes from its current form.
Mr. Annoh-Dompreh, the Majority Chief Whip, described the Bill as defective and said “we need to fine-tune it to ensure that it maximizes the protection of rights and freedoms in consonance with democratic principles as we have practiced uninterrupted for over three decades.”
Mr. Annoh-Dompreh is expected to be critical in determining the future of the Bill because of his role in Parliament’s Majority side.